Blind to the big picture

File - Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh waves the Palestinian and Egyptian flags during celebrations of the victory of Mohammed Morsi in the Egyptian presidential elections, in Gaza City, June 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Stopping short of labeling it a terrorist organization, an Egyptian court banned Hamas Tuesday, just the latest evidence that the party’s priorities are warped and it has failed the Palestinian people.

In favor with the authorities during the tenure of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammad Morsi, Hamas has suffered greatly since his downfall last July. The tunnel network between Egypt and Gaza – closed off on the other side due to Israel’s blockade – has largely been destroyed, rendering the coastal enclave, one of the most densely populated places on earth, even more of a prison than it already was.

After refusing to back Syrian President Bashar Assad, the group was already suffering financially, having lost the support of Iran. And now, after allegedly transferring weapons to militants in Egypt, likely including those who have targeted the army in the Sinai, it has made an enemy of itself in Cairo.

Democratically elected in Gaza in 2007, its subsequent military takeover of the strip and the extremist policies it has enacted since have served only to weaken the Palestinian cause and strengthen Israel’s argument that sign any peace agreement would jeopardize its own security. Netanyahu cited that very logic Tuesday while speaking to AIPAC.

While Hamas leaders have built themselves palatial mansions in Gaza, ordinary citizens continue to suffocate: from the blockade, from oppressive social policies and from heavy Israeli bombardments in retaliation for clumsy rocket attacks.

Preoccupied with dress codes for women and haircuts for men, Hamas is concerned with debating the furniture before the house has even been built. Unless it joins a unified Palestinian umbrella, a state may forever be unachievable.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 05, 2014, on page 7.




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